During cluster creation, instead of composing a new image, you can import the desired software specification from a reference host. If you choose to import an image, vSphere Lifecycle Manager extracts the software specification from the reference host and uses it for the newly created cluster. Importing an image saves you the time and effort of ensuring that you have all necessary components and images available in the vSphere Lifecycle Manager depot. Also, because you use a ready-made image, you do not need to spend time validating the new image.

During image import, along with extracting the software specification from the reference host, vSphere Lifecycle Manager also extracts the software depot associated with the image, and imports the software components to the vSphere Lifecycle Manager depot in the vCenter Server instance where you create the cluster. As a result, in air-gap scenarios, you only need one reference host to obtain the necessaryESXi image and components in the local depot and to create a software specification for your clusters.

You can import an image from an ESXi host that is in the same or a different vCenter Server instance. You can also import an image from an ESXi host that is not managed by vCenter Server. The reference host can also be in a cluster that you manage with baselines. Along with importing the image, you can also choose to move the reference host to the cluster. As a result, the newly created cluster uses the same image as the image on the reference host, which is now part of that cluster. But, if the reference host is in another vCenter Server instance, you can import the image from that host, but you cannot move it to the cluster.

Note: When you import an image from a host, vSphere Lifecycle Manager retrieves the ESXi version, vendor add-on, and user-added components from the host. vSphere Lifecycle Manager does not extract the components from solutions and firmware updates installed on the reference host. Therefore, the image for the new cluster does not contain solution components or a firmware and drivers add-on. To obtain firmware updates in the depot and add a firmware and drivers add-on to your cluster image, you must configure a hardware support manager for the cluster after the cluster is created. For more information about firmware updates, see Firmware Updates.

Prerequisites

  • Verify that the vCenter Server version is 7.0 Update 2
  • Verify that a data center exists in the vCenter Server inventory.
  • Verify that the reference host is version ESXi 7.0 Update 2 or later.
  • Obtain the user name and password of the root user account for the reference host if it is not in your vCenter Server instance.
  • Review the requirements for using a single image in vSphere Lifecycle Manager Requirements and Specifics.

Procedure

  1. In the vSphere Client, navigate to the Hosts and Clusters inventory.
  2. Right-click a data center and select New Cluster.
    The New Cluster wizard opens.
  3. On the Basics page, enter a name for the cluster and enable vSphere DRS, vSphere HA, or vSAN.
  4. Select the Manage all hosts in the cluster with a single image check box.
  5. Choose the method of creating an image for the cluster and click Next .
    • To import an image from a host that is in the same vCenter Server inventory, select the Import image from an existing host in vCenter inventory radio button.
    • To import an image from a host that is in a different vCenter Server instance or a standalone host that is not added to a vCenter Server, select the Import image from a new host radio button.
  6. Follow the prompts to complete the wizard.
    Selected Import Option Steps
    Import image from an existing host in vCenter inventory
    1. On the Image page, select the reference host which you want to extract the image from and click Next.
      Note: After you select a reference host, detailed information about the image on the selected host appears at the bottom of the page. You can view the ESXi version and all additional components.
    2. On the Review page, review your selections and ensure that the selected reference host and its image are what you need.
    3. Click Finish.
    Import image from a new host
    1. On the Image page, enter the host details and click the Find Host button.
    2. If a Security Alert dialog box appears, click Yes to confirm that you want to connect to the host.
    3. To move the host to the cluster, select the Also move selected host to cluster check box and click Next.
    4. On the Review page, review your selections and verify that the selected reference host and its image are what you need.
    5. Click Finish.

Results

A cluster that uses a single image appears in the vCenter Server inventory. Depending on your selections, the reference host might be in the newly created cluster. The image for that cluster is identical to the image on the selected reference host. You can view and customize the cluster image on the Updates tab for the cluster.

What to do next

Add other hosts to the cluster.